Carter, Billups among Basketball Hall of Fame finalists

Vince Carter greets guests before the Basketball Hall of Fame's news conference Friday in Indianapolis. (Associated Press)
Vince Carter greets guests before the Basketball Hall of Fame's news conference Friday in Indianapolis. (Associated Press)

INDIANAPOLIS -- Vince Carter is one step from the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Carter -- who played 22 NBA seasons, the most in league history -- was among the Hall of Fame finalists announced Friday at All-Star weekend. The finalist nod came in Carter’s first year of eligibility.

Also among the finalists: four-time WNBA champion Seimone Augustus, former Detroit Pistons guard and current Portland Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups, former Los Angeles Lakers guard Michael Cooper, Phoenix Suns all-time leading scorer Walter Davis, former Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, and three nominees as contributors -- former player and coach Doug Collins, Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon and NBA legend Jerry West, who was enshrined as a player in 1980.

“Every year is new. Every year is different. We’re very happy with this group,” said Jerry Colangelo, chairman of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “And hopefully, we’re going to have great results in terms of voting.”

That voting takes place in the coming weeks, with the Class of 2024 set to be unveiled at the Final Four in Phoenix on April 6. The class will be enshrined Aug. 17 in Springfield, Mass.

“Unbelievable,” Carter said. “You look in the crowd, you see Hall of Famers, and the opportunity … I mean, you can’t beat that. You can’t beat that. It’s a proud moment.”

Other finalists include Charles Smith, the winningest high school head coach in Louisiana history; former Kansas coach Marian Washington; Australian guard Michele Timms; three-time NAIA champion at Tennessee A&I Dick Barnett; and six-time AAU champion coach Harley Redin.

Washington, Redin and Timms are all already in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Timms is also a member of the FIBA Hall of Fame.

Colangelo said he was pleased to see diversity within the group of finalists -- men, women, big-name players and small-college coaches among them.

“It’s an honor that reflects not only individual greatness but also the long-lasting impact on the game itself,” Colangelo said of being a finalist. “From the strategic brilliance of coaches to the unmatched abilities of players and the influential roles of a coach-broadcaster, an esteemed owner, and a dynasty-building executive, each finalist embodies the pinnacle of basketball excellence.”

Nominees were announced in December. Among those who did not make the cut this year -- Penny Hardaway, and the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team dubbed the “Redeem Team” after winning gold in Beijing four years after the Americans finished third at the Athens Games.

There were other honorees revealed by the Hall on Friday as well.

JoAn Scott, the NCAA’s vice president of men’s basketball, received the John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award. She has been with the NCAA since 2013 after time at Nike and USA Basketball -- where, among other duties, she was the staff administrator for the original Dream Team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Also announced Friday were the recipients of this year’s Curt Gowdy Awards, named for the legendary broadcaster and given to those deemed to have made “a significant contribution to the game of basketball.”

J.A. Adande, the director of sports journalism at his alma mater Northwestern, received the Curt Gowdy Award for print journalism. Longtime analyst and television commentator Debbie Antonelli won for electronic journalism. Slam Magazine and the television show “NBA Inside Stuff” received the award for transformative media. They will also be honored during Hall of Fame weekend.